Smangele Sibisi, founder and owner of Indalo Nubian Naturals, chats to us about how she went from running a business in her flat to owning her own hair salon. By Kwanele Mathebula
I was born and raised in Kagiso, west of Johannesburg. My passion for hair began when I was nine years old. I would always style my grandmother’s and loved playing around with it. I knew then that I wanted a career where I’d be doing people’s hair. My biggest aspiration at the time was to own a salon.
I started doing people’s hair professionally in 2011. I ran my business from my flat for a month before I was able to save up for a space at a salon. Once I had the money, I was able to grow my clientele. At the time, very few salons in the Johannesburg CBD area specialised in natural hair, so I took it upon myself to focus in it. This set me apart from everyone else.
Financial stability has been a challenge in my business. When I opened my hair salon, I had to fund it myself. I had no idea how long or how much it would cost to finally get it up and running. This encouraged me to look at other ways of making an income within my business. So, I added other services such as doing hair for wedding parties, matric dances and other special occasions. I also offer training for people who are interested in doing hair, make and sell wigs, and I’ve recently started creating a product range. This has contributed to ensuring that the business is self-sufficient.
Running my business has taught me that it’s important to take care of my staff. I have had many people work for me over the years. This has taught me that I need to take care of my staff, so they can take care of our clients. I take great pride in taking care of them because they play an important part of making my business a success. Small things such as taking them out, showering them with praise for their work and creating a healthy working environment are a few ways I show my appreciation.
I have many career highlights that make my work worth it. Among these are being nominated in the Best Female Hairstylist of the Year at the African Hair Awards in 2018. Another one is working with a few popular faces in the entertainment industry such as Claire Mawisa, Rami Chuene, Zenande Mfenyana and Renate Stuurman. Additionally, being recognised by the media as a trailblazer in this industry has been great.